17 January 2024

Coffee Subscription Review: The Local Coffee Club

Last autumn, I was excited to try out a new-to-me coffee subscription service. The idea behind The Local Coffee Club is that each month, they will send you a carefully selected bag of coffee from a roaster that is local to you. Currently, they have subscriptions for Bristol and Bath, London, Scotland and South Wales subscription — and an 'everywhere' option in case the service isn't yet in an area near you.

08 January 2024

How To Spend Two Weeks in Thailand

2023 was the year I finally travelled to Thailand, the country that had been on my travel wishlist since 2000 but which I'd somehow never quite managed to visit. In this post, I am rounding up my overall experience: my itinerary and how it worked out, what I did, where I stayed, how I got around and my advice and practical tips.

03 January 2024

Five Travel Stories from 2023

In 2023, just like in 2022, I travelled outside the UK less frequently than in the beforetimes. Travel, and especially flights, have become even more expensive since COVID and Brexit, so it's been really important for me to make each trip count more than ever. It has also meant I've continued to explore more of the UK, especially Birmingham and the West MidlandsBrighton and Sussex, Margate and Oxford, but also a first (and certainly not the last!) visit to Glasgow.

02 January 2024

My Top 5 Books of 2023

In the second of my end-of-year round-up posts, I'm highlighting my five favourite books from among all of those I read in 2023. It was — for me — a relatively slow year for reading. I read 77 books in total, including a couple of re-reads, and I wasn't feeling very inspired for much of the year. This meant I defaulted to my usual reading favourites: crime and psychological thrillers and books set in New York City (where the photo below was taken). Sometimes both!

31 December 2023

Bex's Coffee and Food Awards: 2023 Edition

As the end of 2023 hurtles towards me, I am frantically typing up the 13th edition of my annual speciality coffee and food awards, in which I share my favourite coffee shops, eateries, bars and individual dishes from among those I visited for the first time in 2023 — in London and on my travels around the world.

27 December 2023

Beautiful Beaches and Stunning Sunsets on Ko Lanta

The last major stop on my Thailand trip was on the island of Ko Lanta (technically Ko Lanta Yai, and also spelled Koh Lanta), located in the Andaman Sea off the southwestern shores of the Thai mainland near Krabi. I thought long and hard about which island (or islands) to base myself on and decided that Ko Lanta would be the best for me in terms of weather (for early December), beaches, things to do, nightlife (lack of it in my case!) and easy access to the mainland and other beautiful islands.

21 December 2023

Four Days in Chiang Mai: Elephant Encounters, Cooking and Monastic Hikes

From Bangkok, I took a short flight to Chiang Mai and spent four full days exploring the former capital of the Lanna kingdom and the nearby area. With a wider urban population of close to 1.2 million, Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand but the Old City and central area are relatively compact and it's easy to get around on foot or by hopping into a songthaew (shared van) or tuk tuk.